A young boy learns about the stories of others, and how to reach out
On the way home I ran, so I would avoid Big Jim, and I got home all hot and sweaty. “Dale,” my mum called out, “are you OK? Why are you so dirty?” I knew that I had to tell her what had been happening. “There’s a boy at school, he’s as big as Dad and he takes my lunch everyday and chases me on the dirt track.”
With the help of his perceptive mother, Dale learns what lies behind Big Jim’s bullying – and how to make the situation better for everyone.
My Friend The Bully is a tale related by a 9-year-old boy called Dale, tracing the processes enacted by Dale, his family and friends to deal with the trauma of being a victim of bullying.
Its story allows children aged 7–10 years to make a connection with the plight of others. Indeed, it offers strategies in providing passive/assertive gestures that are empowering in dealing with the bully. The character of Dale’s mother is a positive parental role, and refuses the reinforcement of gender stereotypes. It elicits empathy for both victim and bully, highlighting that there are two sides to every story – and solutions to every problem.
The narrative is based on real-life events: Dale is actually author Robert Barco, who in his 40s had graduated with a degree in social sciences, welfare and youth work and was completing a masters in child welfare.
The illustrations are by Jared Kailahi, then 24 years old and a past fellow inmate of Barco, whose contribution to this book was his first opportunity to use his drawing skills.
This book will find its place wherever young children read: at home or at school, whether for leisure or under instruction.
My Friend The Bully was launched at the SHINE for Kids AGM on 26 November 2009 by The Hon. Graham West MP, Minister for Juvenile Justice, Youth and Volunteering. SHINE for Kids sponsored the layout of the book by Cyberdog Design, and it was kindly printed pro bono by Fuji Xerox Australia.
You can order a printed copy of My Friend The Bully by phoning us on (02) 9714 3000.